Design Review Process (Draft)
Note the following information is currently being written and reviewed for content. This information has not been formerly approved. This area is still under development. Please contact the Design Review Board directly with any questions regarding the design review process.
The Approval Process
The Norfolk Design Review Board (DRB) consists of five town residents who meet on the second Tuesday of each month (or as required) and to whom applicants present their proposed projects. The DRB reviews design presentations based on aesthetics and impact on the historic context of existing structures and their surrounding properties. The Board tries to work with applicants in finding mutually acceptable solutions with issues on architecture, painting, fences, materials, masonry, plantings, etc. A review is desired when changes in appearance of a property is visible from a public way (i.e. street or river). This does not apply to repainting an existing structure, or repairing/replacing existing features with identical materials and designs. When in doubt please contact the Design Review Board for clarification. Often drawings and other supporting material will be required.
Starting the Process
The process begins by notifying the DRB and preparing a summary of the proposed work. The applicant will be asked to further explain the proposed work and show any additional information (e.g. photographs, catalogs, hardware), to help the board members understand exactly what is being planned. Unless the information is clear and complete.
The Design Review Board would like to make the presentation process as swift and easy as possible for the applicant. When information submitted is incomplete, the Commission will request additional information. To avoid such situations, it is highly recommended that the presentation include (where applicable): Detailed information on materials and hardware (manufacturer’s catalogs are a big help); Paint chips or color charts; Plan views that are to scale, dimensioned, and that accurately show property lines; Photographs that also show views from a distance, not just up close; Alternative designs (just in case).
The mass and design of new structures must be in keeping with the historic character of the location and nearby buildings. With historic structures, use of the same exterior material on additions is strongly recommended. Aluminum and vinyl siding are not considered appropriate for existing antique buildings. The Commission urges applicants to consider the potentially harmful effects of applying this siding. Buried utility lines are favored. Metering devices should not be located on the main facade.
You are required to appear before the DRB for any new construction or changes to buildings or structures visible from any public way. Review of all plans by the Building Inspector is recommended prior to requesting approval from the Design Review Board.
The following items are required for a presentation to the Design Review Board: Completed Construction Check List; Site plan locating the structure, showing existing and proposed grades; Drawings of the exterior elevations; Schematic floor plans; Manufacturer’s brochures with illustrations and specifications for new material, components, or assemblies to be used; Landscaping plan (see Landscape Guidelines).
For the purpose of these guidelines, landscaping is defined as plant materials and not hardscaping which is walls, fences, driveways, and walkways. Always consider the height of plants at maturity when planning your landscape.
You do not have to appear before the Design Review Board if you are planting a garden shrubs or trees, or doing routine maintenance. You are required to appear before the Design Review Board if you are landscaping in conjunction with a new construction or alteration project - if your plantings or removals will alter the setting of an historic property. Examples include: Clear cutting trees or cutting down large healthy trees over 12 inches in diameter measured 4 feet from the ground; Planting a hedge which will be over 5 feet high at maturity and which will obscure the facade of a building.
The following items are required for a presentation to the Design Review Board: Plan view of your property indicating the plantings or removals; Photographs of your property from the street, river, or other public way.
Signs and Awnings Guidelines
Signs and awnings must relate in size, scale, color, and overall design to the general character of the location and to the specific historic context (if any) in which they are to be placed. Carved wood signs are an effective way to convey an historic appearance especially when used with either wooden posts or wrought iron brackets. For signs mounted flat against building walls, raised beveled letters work well to achieve an early look.
Fonts have a significant impact on the appearance of the overall theme. Generally, sans-serif fonts are modern looking while serif fonts are traditional. Please consider these factors when designing your sign.
Signs and awnings should not have lighting unless they are for an establishment that is open at night such as a restaurant or inn. If lighting is to be used, hooded fixtures should be chosen so no bare light bulbs are seen.
The DRB may decide that on-site consideration is required prior to a decision regarding an awning or sign.
The following items are required for a presentation to the DRB:
Photographs of the proposed sign location showing adjacent buildings and signs; Illustrations that include information on size, shape, mounting, colors, lettering size, style, materials, and layout; Paint chips or painted samples indicating manufacturer, color names, and color numbers; Detail drawing showing support and attachment; Name of sign contractor; Detail design and location of any lighting to be used on the sign (including wattage).
Design Review Board – New Construction Checklist
- Size Height Massing
- Grading Drainage
- Relationship to Surroundings Pole Marking (See * notation below)
- Siding /Trim
- True Divided Light?
- Exterior Lighting
- Paint sample on wood 8 1/2" x 11" (min.)
- Landscaping (See ** notation below)
* POLE MARKING: SHOULD A HEARING BE CONTINUED TO A SITE VISIT, THE APPLICANT IS REQUIRED TO STAKE THE PERIMETER OF THE PROPOSED BUILDING AND CONNECT WITH CAUTION TAPE. A POLE WITH A FLAG, BALLOON, OR SOME OTHER DEVICE SHOULD BE USED TO VISUALLY MARK THE HEIGHT OF THE PROPOSED BUILDING.
** ALL PROPOSED PLANTINGS SHOULD BE IDENTIFIED BY SIZE, PLANT SPECIES AND LOCATION ON THE PROPERTY.